The strange fish was nearly three meters long and had no scales to be seen. (Octavian Lacatusu/Oak Bay News)

UPDATED: Rare ‘king-of-the-salmon’ washes up on Oak Bay beach

The rare type of ribbonfish was found by a man walking his dog on Rattenbury Beach.

A strange sea creature that washed up on Oak Bay’s Rattenbury Beach late Thursday morning has been identified as a very rare king-of-the-salmon, according to a local biologist.

The unique name of the king-of-the-salmon originates from Makah First Nation legend, in which the fish (Trachiptreus altivelis) was believed to be the “king” that would lead salmon back to their rivers to spawn, noted Jackie Hildering, a biologist and marine educator, who goes by the handle of The Marine Detective on her blog.

The strange-looking fish, at more than two metres long, was found deceased beside the water by a man who was walking on the beach with his dog.

“I was just walking along with my dog and saw this bright shining fish here, and I never saw anything like it, so I was interested,” Ben Baker, who found the creature, told Oak Bay News. “I have no idea what it could be, maybe an oarfish, but who knows.”

Another video, posted on Facebook an hour prior by Peter Rowand, showed the fish was already in trouble as it floated aimlessly closer and closer to shore.

Unsurprisingly, king-of-the-salmon belong to the ribbonfish family, (Trachipteridae) are extremely thin and reach lengths longer than two metres. The long and high crimson-coloured dorsal fin is also very reminiscent of a ribbon, tapering down the full length of the fish’s back. These fish move in a snake-like fashion, undulating their long bodies.

As adult king-of-the-salmon feed in the open ocean at depths of 900 metres or more (3,000 ft) they very rarely make an appearance ashore, Hildering said.

In Makah culture, killing one would bring bad luck, causing the death of the salmon.

For more info on this fascinating fish, check out themarinedetective.com.

octavian.lacatusu@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Ben Baker taking a closer look at his strange discovery. (Octavian Lacatusu/Oak Bay News)

A massive eye was clear and intact, bearing no resemblance to any other fish seen recently. (Octavian Lacatusu/Oak Bay News)

The strange fish was more than two meters long and had nearly no fins whatsoever. (Octavian Lacatusu/Oak Bay News)

Just Posted

Indigenous youth arrested during 15-hour occupation to hold press conference Wednesday morning

The speakers are expected to condemn police, RCMP actions towards Indigenous people

Southern resident orca L41 considered missing and feared dead

The orca was last spotted in Aug. 2019 when photographed in western Strait of Juan de Fuca

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

VIDEO: Saanich family competes on first season of ‘Family Feud Canada’

Charania family will face off against the Torres family from Hamilton, Ont.

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Greater Victoria’s wanted list for the week of Jan. 28

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Are you concerned about the coronavirus?

The coronavirus which has sparked concern around the globe has now arrived… Continue reading

Off-duty Nanaimo Mountie takes down would-be ice cream thief

Suspect attempted to steal Dilly Bars from Dairy Queen location on Sunday

Nanaimo man hit with pole in dispute over off-leash dog

RCMP say no charges recommended at this time

Was there a tornado on Vancouver Island Monday?

Suspected phone app glitch gives eerie warning

Work has started on Malahat Skywalk, expected completion in 2021

$15-million project expected to open in spring, 2021

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Sooke Minor Fastball to host coaching clinic

Clinic ideal for those planning to coach U6 to U18 teams

Most Read